ASA is yet another academic writing style among many that help guide writers in their endeavors. The style, developed by the American Sociological Association, is very similar to APA in many ways. While it may have been developed for use by those who publish in the ASA journals, the style can and has been adopted by other writers as well. It is an authoritative style in sociological manuscripts.
Academic writing requires a keen attention to the rules without which the paper could fail to achieve what it is meant to. Academic papers are often meant to introduce a concept through description, analyses a concept and present findings, persuade the reader to accept a certain concept of view point as valid or to criticize a concept not necessarily to debunk it but rather to look at it from a different angle.
Often the way a paper is structured and written is almost as important as the material therein. If a writer does not adopt a proper academic writing style then they may fail to achieve one of the four intentions stated above which would defeat the purpose of writing the paper to begin with. These styles also offer ways in which writers can credit, appreciate and acknowledge the people who came before as well as helped shape the people into what it will turn out to be through citation and referencing.
Just like APA, ASA is a parenthetical style which uses the author-date reference format. It is preferred as it does not necessitate the use of footnotes which the creators agreed may divert the reader from the important stuff. Though, some situations may necessitate a footnote. ASA requires in-text citations and a references section at the end of the paper.
So, an ASA in-text reference is utilized to make the reader notice where you have cited or summarized a source inside the content. The reference incorporates the name of the author, publication date of the source, and, where required, the page numbers, for instance: (Author, 2021). Subsequent references to a similar source are as yet recorded incidentally by author and year.
Each in-text reference should connect to a reference list passage, and its purpose is to direct your reader there. Your reference list is an ordered list of completely designed references, which will give the entirety of the data required for your reader to find the first source. The emphasis on dates is carried over to the reference list, where the publication date is the primary piece of data after the author’s name.
As mentioned before, the format has numerous likenesses to both the APA style and the Chicago reference style; both in appearance and capacity. Although, having been developed by a different group from those two it is expected that there are differences. Therefore, proficiency in APA and/or Chicago styles does not meant mean you can claim the same in ASA so it is fundamental that you follow the Style Guide.
For better understanding of how ASA works, it is imperative that you understand how a manuscript looks first.
The ASA guide offers suggestions, or rather, directions on how to write a manuscript. The guide directs that the author avoid writing in first person or giving personal opinions. This is not just a specification of ASA but of academic writing in general. All things should have some evidence attached to them.
ASA also requires that you avoid gendering words unnecessarily. For example, when referring to people it is not necessary to specify their gender unless it is necessary in the text like when giving findings of a survey for example. Just as well, you should avoid political black holes like use of racial slurs. It is better to be as specific as possible like saying Mexican instead of Latino. Use of words like oriental is explicitly disallowed.
It is easier to use acronyms instead of writing things out every time you refer to something. However, when you first introduce an acronym into the text, you should write it out in full with the abbreviation in brackets. This way, readers will know what you are referring to from that point forth.
Often, except in a few instances, a separate title page is required for academic writing. This allows the writer to separate the introduction of the paper from the introduction of the person who wrote the paper. For example, when you get up to give a presentation, you tell everyone your name and the title of the presentation attached to a little explanation of the title before you dive and introduce the subject.
Therefore, on the very first page, where you will include nothing else your title page will include your name and any affiliated institutions as well as the title of the paper and other important information like editors. This page should have a running head which is essentially a smaller or contracted version of the title. Some title pages may require a word count for the paper.
ASA requires that the title page have a footnote with the address of the corresponding author (that is – the author who receives correspondence regarding the article), grants/funding, and additional credits and acknowledgements (for papers for sociology classes, this is often not needed). An asterisk (*) by the title refers to the title footnote at the bottom of the page.
After your self-introduction, you should go ahead and introduce the title of the paper as well as a brief discussion of how the paper has been executed. Although, in some cases you may not need an abstract especially if your paper is really short. The abstract is placed on a separate page as it is not considered an ‘official’ part of the paper.
The standard abstracts is less than 200 words long in one paragraph. With the abundance of material out there, including keywords on the abstract page helps place the paper in the right search results. Therefore, include three to five words after the abstract that would help locate it and best describe the material in the manuscript.
The ‘official’ first page of the manuscript comes after the abstract. This page often starts with the title at the top of the page. Then comes the introduction of the paper. The introduction of a paper can be difficult to write especially if you are unsure of the angle you want to write from or are afraid of revealing too much too soon. The idea is to start broad then narrow down as you go ensuring to leave the detail to subsequent parts of the manuscript.
The length of the introduction depends on the length of the manuscript. Ideally, it should be 10% of the length of the manuscript. Anything over this and you will have overdone it.
Before diving into the nitty gritties, it is important to note a few things first.
Last Name, First Name. Year. Book Title. City: Publisher
Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name. Year. Book Title. Nth ed. City: Publisher
Author. Year. “Chapter.” Pp. 4 in Book Title. City: Publisher
Last Name, First Name. Year. “Article Title.” Journal Volume (Issue): Pages. DOI:
Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name. Year. “Article Title.” Journal Name Volume (Issue): Pages
Author. Year. “Title.” Retrieved Date mmdd, yyyy (link).
Author. Year. “Article Title.” Newspaper Name, Date mmdd, pp. 8.
Article Title. Year. Newspaper Name. Date mmdd, p. 8.
Case Name, Case Number (Year).
If you are unsure of what is required, the specific journals you are targeting will provide directions for how to format the text and paper in general. However, to simplify for you, the ASA guide requires a 12point font in Arial font and double spaced font. The same should apply throughout the paper including the footnotes. The margins should be at least 11/4 inches all round. For more directions, you can refer the ASA guide.
Subheadings come in different shapes and colors. They are meant to differentiate between main subheadings and subheadings to subheadings. Once you have generated the table of contents, you will be able to see how the word processor arranges the readings in different levels.
Usually, you can change the setting so that the different level headings adopt a different look. The ASA guide provides that the first level head be in all caps and justified to the left without bold. The second level head should be in italics and left justified in title case. The third level head should be in italics and left justified as well but indented and in sentence case.
Unlike the Chicago style, ASA does not necessarily need footnotes to aid referencing. In ASA notes are used primarily to expound and add information presented in a table as well as to cite some sources. If you choose to use endnotes instead of footnotes, they should come after the references page in numerical order with the title Notes.
Just like other academic writing styles, ASA allows both citation in prose and parenthetical citation. Therefore, if the name of the author is mentioned in the text then the year of publication of the source follows the name immediately in brackets. For example:
Author (Year) argued that…
The parenthetical presentations would look like:
There have been arguments to the contrary… (Author Year).
There are two types of quotations in ASA. There are short ones, that is under 40 words, which are encased in quotation marks. Then there are block quotations which stand on their own and are more than 40 words long. These should be single spaced and do not require quotation marks as they are often offset from the main text. In either kind of quotations, there will be a citation of both the year and page.
Like: (Author Year: Page)
Citing Multiple Authors
(Last Name and Last Name Year)
When citing three authors, you can use all names in the first instance. For example:
First citation – (Last Name, Last Name and Last Name Year)
Subsequent citations for the same source would look like:
(Last Name et al. Year)
However, if the authors are more than four then use ‘et al.’ from the get go.
In some cases you might need to cite multiple sources in the same place, in which case the citation would look like:
(Last Name Year; Last Name Year)
While there are glaring similarities to APA, ASA takes some liberties especially with referencing more than two authors. This is not used in any other style. This is just one of the minor differences that one might miss if they only gloss over. Therefore, it is imperative to understand each academic writing style individually despite similarities.
ASA is quite simple to apply, however, you might need someone to check your work once you are done just to ensure you have done everything right. That is where we come in with our expertise. We understand that ASA is not commonly used and therefore you might not have used it often. This means that it will be easy to miss some things or apply APA guidelines instead. Contact us and let give you a stamp of excellence before submitting that manuscripts. We offer a wide range of services that you will benefit from.
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